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The Colter Chronicles, Sierra Gunn, Todd Bendera, border, Mexico US border, film, TV, feature, drama, Texas, Mexico, Arizona, border patrol, immigration, immigrants, Mexican, drug cartels, Colter, Juanito

Inside Mexico's Drug Tunnels

Mexico's drug cartels employ increasingly sophisticated technology to burrow under the border. Since 2001, US law enforcement has discovered more than 100 tunnels along the border with Mexico. With deep pockets and extensive networks, the drug cartels hire (or force) engineers with extensive tunnel-construction experience to work for them. While border security agents can rely on sensor-equipped towers above ground, tunnels are uncovered through human intelligence. So far, there is no way to detect these tunnels below ground. More from TIME magazine here:

New Study: The Latino Media Gap

Although the Latino population in the United States is growing, a thorough review of the top movies, TV programming and news reveals that there is an abysmally low number of talent and executives in the entertainment and media industries relative to population. The study found that although the US Latino population grew more than 43 percent between 2000 and 2013 - to 17 percent of the total U.S. population - participation behind or in front of the camera stayed stagnant or grew only slightly, often proportionally declining. Even when Latinos are visible, they tend to be portrayed through centuries-old stereotypes, either hyper-sexualized, as comic relief, and/or cheap labor. Read more here:

A Sad Tale about Children and Immigration

The New York Times reports a surge in unaccompanied minors crossing the US border. Since October last year, a record 47,017 children have been apprehended at the southwest United States border, most traveling from Central America. It is surmised that the increase is due to a belief by immigrant families that the US will be more lenient toward immigrant children. It is also likely due to many families worried about rising crime and ailing economies in their home countries. The family pictured below has lost two children - age 7 and 13 years old - to crime. They live in the Mexican La Pradera neighborhood, where seven children have been murdered only in the past month by the multi-ethnic transnational crime organization, Mara-18, originally formed as a street gang in LA, CA.

Photo by Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Photo by Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Scriptwriting Tips

8 Writing Tips from Masters Larry Gross (We Don't Live Here Anymore), Andrea Arnold (Fishtank) and others on IndieWire:  1) Change your perspective (literally get up from your desk); 2) Don't wait for perfection; 3) Do it even if you doubt it; 4) Listen to your characters; 5) Stop making excuses; 6) Don't care what others think; 7) Start with powerful images; and 8) Keep it simple!

New Documentary - Who is Dayani Cristal?

Opening April 25th in select cities, Who is Dayani Cristal? features the Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal as he follows the trail of an unidentified migrant who died while crossing the Sonora desert. Humane Borders reports that since 1999 there have been 2,471 migrant deaths in Arizona alone. Most bodies found are not identified. One such unfortunate migrant found was only identifiable from a tattoo that read 'Dayani Cristal'.

"This film is about migration, it’s about humanity. It is perhaps one of the most primal stories of humankind.” - Garcia Bernal

My Border Patrol Diary

My Border Patrol Diary by Dale Squint is a raw, unfettered account of life on the edge of Texas.

"There was a program in operation, at least in our sector, where a rancher/farmer was able to 'keep' an illegal or illegals on his ranch or farm legally. It was called the 'D-5' program. A 'D-5' was an illegal alien. He was probably a very good worker and was liked by the individual rancher/farmer. The border patrol would allow this rancher/farmer to 'keep' this illegal on his ranch, and in return we expected information...."

That's A Wrap - Hangover III

Actors Bradley Cooper, Zack Galifianakis, and Ed Helms show their appreciation to the people of Nogales. Warner Brothers Hangover III was filmed there last year. Nogales, Arizona, borders the city of NogalesSonoraMexico, and is Arizona's largest international border town. Nogales, Arizona, was the filming location for the motion picture musical, Oklahoma!. The town was chosen because it looked more like turn-of-the-century Oklahoma than anywhere in Oklahoma did in 1955, when the film was made. Nogales is also a locale for filming some of the TV reality documentary, Border Wars.

Women Vigilante Movement Spreading in Mexico

Women in the town of Xaltianguis, Mexico are taking up arms as part of a growing number of vigilante groups fighting back against drug violence. "I see fear in my children. We can't continue living in fear." - Areli Almazan Almazan, a mother and member of the new community police force in Xaltianguis. Watch the short documentary here:

Photo by Katie Orlinsky

Photo by Katie Orlinsky

They Party Like It's 1789!

Cristina Ibarra's documentary Las Marthas, praised by The New York Times as "a striking alternative portrait of border-town life," documents the annual debutante ball in Laredo, Texas. Part of the largest celebration of George Washington's birthday in the world, this unique event presents a select group of mostly Mexican-American girls at a lavish Colonial Ball. Their goal: to recreate a party hosted by Martha Washington, but this time set along the U.S./Mexico border. You can watch the full documentary on PBS Video until March 19th here: